FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 14
This week I think that the fall season has truly set in with us. The chilly mornings, crisp breath and even the fall colors are starting to show! Fun fact about the fall colors… wonder why it happens? It’s just the cold weather right? Well… that’s true but there is a more detailed explanation I’d like to share.
Every leaf on a deciduous tree has pigments. We know about the chlorophyll because that’s what is most obvious- it gives the leaves their green color. There are also carotenoids present in every leaf. As the daylight lessens, the trees are triggered to cue their hibernation period (forgive my lack of terminology here). The tree will start to bring their pigments and nutrients back into the trunk of the tree. As it is pulling the chlorophyll back into itself, it exposes the carotenoids which are the yellow and orange hues. There are always carotenoids and chlorophyll present in every leaf, but the strong green color blocks the rest of the hues and pigments.
There is one other pigment, anthocyanin. This is responsible for the red leaves, but this is not present in every tree. That’s why certain tree species and families will turn yellow, orange and red, and some don’t get that brilliant red color we love seeing. So this time of year the trees are being triggered by lack of daylight to bring in their pigments. The leaves turn colors until all of the pigments are withdrawn back into the tree and then the leaves eventually turn brown, die and fall off. “Fall” off! ;)
This upcoming week we will be delivering apple shares for those of you who purchased the add-on share! We will also be adding honey crisps into everyone’s shares so don’t worry if you didn’t purchase the additional quantity, you will still get some of these goodies!
We have had a special guest post to the blog periodically. Kristen is a registered dietitian and has a lot of insight into the foods we’re enjoying together this summer. This post in particular I actually asked her about and she ended up writing a great explanation of what happens when we cook our veggies. Do you eat your broccoli raw or steamed? What does that mean for the nutrient value? If you’re interested in the science behind food, please read her blog post! It’s posted right at the top of the blog along with this post.
This time of year we’re working towards getting all of the squash out of the fields. We had a bumper crop of squash!! Here is a picture of one of the top garage where we’re storing the squash. SO. MANY. SQUASH! Every squash is a little different, but the majority of them are the hard flesh winter squash (all except the spaghetti squash). They can all be used interchangeably. One of our favorite ways to use them is baking! You can use this in substitution for any pie pumpkin recipes too, so if you’re already craving the pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, feel free to try any squash in substitute.
This week in the Jumbo & Family Shares you can expect: Delicata Squash, Sweet Mama Buttercup squash, Carrots (many are very big!), Honey Crisp Apples, Jalapenos and Cabbage!
This week in the Single Shares you can expect: Delicata Squash, Sweet Mama Buttercup Squash, Carrots (many are very big!), Honey Crisp Apples & Cabbage!
The Delicata squash is one of the only squashes with edible skins. It is a delicate, usually smaller squash that has a seed cavity that runs the length. It’s long & skinny, and in my opinion makes the best stuffing squash because of how the seed cavity is distributed throughout! One of my favorite things to stuff in delicatas is chopped apples & chopped walnuts (maybe like an 80-20 mixture), then drizzle honey over the top and sprinkle with brown sugar. Some people add melted butter to the brown sugar too. Bake at 350 until fork tender. For most delicatas I would say 20-30 minutes is average.
The sweet mama squash is the classic buttercup squash. This is one of the most popular squashes that we grow. This squash has an extraordinarily long shelf life. If you keep it in a cool dry place it should last for weeks or even months. This is one that is classically made with just brown sugar and butter. That’s the most popular way to prepare but I have heard of cubing the flesh and adding it into a baked casseroles. It keeps its’ shape well after baking.
Carrots! Finally!! These are much later than we expected for this season. They have grown to be very large in this super heavy soil. We use a pressure wand to wash off the dirt but please make sure you’re doing it too. Always wash your produce :) We topped these carrots because the greens looked terrible, just being honest lol. If we can harvest them earlier in the season when they’re smaller and the greens are shorter and more firm, standing up straight, we do like to include the greens. This year that’s not the case, but the carrots are still very tasty! We will have them this week and then I’m hoping to have them again before the end of the season because we didn’t get them into the shares sooner. This season we moved into our forever farm at the end of April so there were some root crops that were started later than usual. The root crops are direct seeded into the ground, not started by seed in the trays like many of the other varieties we grow.
Honey Crisp Apples!! These are a treat here in Minnesota. All of us know of the infamous honey crisps ;) They are multipurpose apples, meaning they’re great to eat, bake with, or process into sauces. Every apple has a purpose, but the honey crisps are unique in that you really can’t do anything wrong with them! Whereas if you had a super sweet apple or super tart apple, some of those can’t be used interchangeably like the honey crisps can. Keep these in the fridge if you can, they will stay firm for weeks. I don't expect them to last that long.. but just in case.
Jalapenos! This is the last time you will see these for the season, guaranteed. I don’t think we will have any more hot peppers at all. The peppers are really showing some more damage because we’ve had a couple more frosts since the first ‘surprise’ frost a couple weeks back. A lot of peppers that look great because were tucked tight to the inside of the plants and protected by the foliage but any that were hanging on the outer edges of the pepper plant have already fallen off because of their damage. We will still have plenty for what we need- we grow about 500 jalapeno plants!
If you’re looking for a way to enjoy your hot peppers but aren’t a super big fan of the heat- cut the pepper in half and remove the membranes & seeds. That is where most of the heat is. Also try cooking them! Cooking them will cause them to lose some of their heat too. I have gotten a lot of awesome feedback from members who have tried the breaded hot pepper recipes, I highly recommend that one!
Cabbage! If you’re looking for an easy side, chop the cabbage and carrots from this week’s CSA and make a slaw. That’s the classic way to use cabbage in my opinion but there are also recipes for eggrolls, fried cabbage, beef broccoli & cabbage stir frys, and much more on the blog. Just click the search icon on the upper right and type in whatever kind of produce you want and it’ll bring up every post that mentions it- which includes a lot of recipes too!
I hope you guys have a great rest of your weekend!! PS I just checked the weather and it looks like we're being gifted another warm week, which is great news because we're still waiting on a few of the varieties that need a bit of time to grow (like the brussel sprouts for example).
More on that next week ;)
Stay well friends,
~The Farmer’s Wife